Great savings, but at what cost? 

Great savings, but at what cost? 

Black Friday has gone from being a uniquely American event to a near global phenomenon and, like all consumption at scale, it has environmental consequences. The upside? There’s a new way for online retailers and consumers to reduce their environmental impact. Steffen Burrows, cofounder and director at CURBON, explains.

In trying economic times, Black Friday offers some genuinely significant discounts for consumers in search of a deal. For retailers feeling the pinch, meanwhile, November 25 is an opportunity to increase traffic and boost sales.

Estimates suggest 27 million South Africans will participate in Black Friday this year, spending an average of R1 735 per person online and in stores, resulting in a whopping R4.7 billion in sales. This correlates to roughly
8.4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, however: the equivalent of driving
2.1 million cars for one year, in just 24 hours.

The answer isn’t necessarily for people to stop buying the products and services they need and enjoy, though. Rather, we should all be more conscious of the impacts our purchases have, and should take steps to lessen these impacts.

Over and above reducing the emissions of their products and their entire value chain, e-commerce stores can offer more sustainable shopping solutions like carbon offsetting, which directs funds towards climate change projects to reduce the emissions of their customers’ purchases.

One such initiative, CURBON, offers e-commerce stores and customers the opportunity to easily offset the climate cost of the products they purchase at check-out. By contributing around 2% to 5% of cart spend, an individual can offset the carbon impact of the goods they purchase, as well as the impact of their order’s delivery.

If just 20% of South Africans contribute 2% of the value of their online carts to carbon offset their purchases, R150 million would be raised annually for climate change projects.

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SHEQ Management

SHEQ MANAGEMENT is the definitive source for reliable, accurate and pertinent information to guarantee environmental health and safety in the workplace.
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